Hepatitis B (HBV) is a virus that can cause inflammation in the liver, which over time can cause liver damage.

About 95% of adults who are exposed to HBV fullly recover within 6 months (acute HBV) without medication. About 5% have HBV all their lives (chronic HBV).

Infants born to mother infected with HBV are at high risk of developing chronic HBV.

Chronic HBV can lead to cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, and liver failure.

Who is at risk for HBV?

  • Were born in the U.S., and not vaccinated as an infant, and have parents born in high-risk countries
  • Have traveled to countries where hep B is common
  • Were born to a mother who has hep B
  • Have had contact with infected body fluids (blood, semen, or vaginal secretions)
  • Have had unprotected sex with a person infected with hep B
  • Have had a tattoo or body piercing with unsterilized tools
  • Have shared unsterilized needles

A vaccine is available to prevent HBV!
Vaccination for HBV is recommended:

  • All newborns and children
  • People with liver disease not caused by HBV
  • People with HIV
  • Healthcare and emergency workers, military personnel, morticians and embalmers
  • People who have ever been on hemodialysis
  • People working or housed in prisons
  • Staff and patients at institutions for the developmentally challenged
  • People with multiple sexual partners
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People who have ever interjected or inhaled drugs
  • Sexual partners and household members of people with HBV
  • Travelers to countries where HBV is common
  • Members of ethnic or racial groups with high rate of HBV infection including Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, African Americans, Latino Americans, Native Americans and Alaskan Native

Will I need HBV treatment?

Not everyone who test positive for hepatitis B will require medication. Depending on your test results, you may be monitored with blood tests and imaging on a regular basis, without medication. If your test results indicate that you would be a good candidate for treatment options with you. Whether you start treatment or not, it is important to have a check up every 6 months to monitor your HBV.